1. I didn’t have a computer until 1999 or so, when my mom had a friend help her pick out a Sony Vaio. Vintage Windows 98. That was about when I started working on my computer science degree (better late than never), so most of the time, I had little idea what was going on. For homework, we had to install Java 1.1.7. While trying to understand the difference between the classpath and the path (I’m telling you, I was clueless), I completely screwed up the command line — it wouldn’t even launch. The next day, I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while, we got to talking about it, and he offered to check it out. He came by, ate a bowl of our Frooty Loops, and re-pointed the command line shortcut to cmd.exe. That’s it. We gave him our old Nintendo Entertainment System, in thanks.
2. I look like my mom. My only sibling, my 5-years younger brother, looks like my dad. And yet, we always get told that we “look just like each other!” One guy even asked if we were identical twins. It baffles us.
3. I always introduce myself to strangers as Daniel. Not because I like being called that — call me Dan, please — but because if I say my name is Dan, they’ll hear “Dave”. It happens every time. Unless the stranger’s name is Dan, and that doesn’t seem to me like it should count. My wife never believed me, until it happened at a Starbucks, and my latte-or-whatever came back, sure enough, with “Dave” scrawled on it. She loves telling that story now.
4. I’m a not-so-great photographer, and was never a very visual person, but that doesn’t stop me from taking pictures. My friend Tom has tried to explain things like visual composition to me, and some of it eventually sank in, but I just don’t get it.
But sometimes, I get lucky. This bold, patient, and strangely cooperative squirrel is a perfect example. We ran into him (her? I don’t know) in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, sitting next to a large pile of seeds, and a sign that said “Will pose for food.”
I’m also into stereoscopic photography. I was pretty good at those eye-crossing 3D puzzles when I was younger, which are based on the same optics principles. After I learned how to make stereographs in my computer graphics course, I started snapping double pictures (left eye, right eye), and stitching them together in Paint. Here’s one of Mary, on the trail down from Emerald Lake in Boulder, Colorado. Click it for a larger version, which looks much better.
5. I read a good bit (ok, that’s already clear on my blog, but still). I recently re-read Last Call and convinced my wife to read it (she’ll probably finish it today). The first time I read it, the company I worked for had free parking, but it was two or three miles away from the office, so they ran shuttles to cart us between our cars and desks. One morning on the shuttle, while reading Last Call, the woman seated next to me asked what I was reading. I showed her the cover, and said, “Last Call,” hoping that was enough.
“What’s it about?”
“Well, it’s about the Fisher King in Las Vegas, and how he evicts people’s soul from their body, so he can assume their body, and live forever. He does it through this game called Assumption, which is kind of like poker, with Tarot cards.”
She thought about that for maybe three seconds, and asked, “Is that a part of your belief system?”
There’s lots more I could say. When I started, I didn’t think I’d come up with five interesting things to mention, but now that I’m feeling talkative and sharing, I could probably come up with at least five more…but five’s the limit. And anyway, who really wants to hear about me all day? Especially when you could read about Ola Bini, James McGovern, Lidor Wyssocky, or Rands in Repose? [Ok, so there’s only four there. When you get this many generations into exponential growth, you start running out of options, fast. Ola, Rands, and Lidor, I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs for a while, and you appear to not have been tagged yet. My apologies for changing that. James, you can blame JT.]